Human Rights education and training are lifelong processes that concern all ages. UN Declaration on Human Rights Education, 2011
Do you want to know who you are?
Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

Thomas Jefferson

Approaches

PREPARING TEACHERS AND STUDENTS FOR INFORMED ACTION PROJECTS

Teachers from the Republic of Georgia participate in workshops to help them lead students in the design and implementation of informed action projects.

Project Leaders’ Tasks

  • Define program goals and objectives
  • Enlist collaborators
  • Identify needed resources
  • Contact experts
  • Plan timeline and workshops
  • Manage venue-specific constraints
  • Mentor students
  • Assess progress and outcomes
Programs promoting the study of Human Rights and active engagement in service activities are available for teachers and students in all primary and secondary grades, and for teachers in training during their college years. Informed Action Projects can engage a handful of students in classroom or youth group settings, or extend to an entire class or grade.  Projects typically last half to a full academic year.  Each starts with teachers or group leaders who desire to expand their students’ understanding of human rights issues and get them involved in community service activities.  The steps to completion will vary according to the specific emphases, youth ages and interests, and target audiences.

Skills-developing Workshops

  • What are Human Rights?
  • Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
  • Recognizing biases, challenging assumptions
  • Building partnerships in a multicultural community
  • Strategies for effective leadership
  • Public speaking
Workshops bring all participants together to study key documents and discuss global events, past and current, related to Human Rights. They are challenged to reflect on their own perceptions and actions, and to understand the reasons underlying the words and actions of others. As the projects progress, workshops focus more on the design and implementation of each group’s projects, using the collective ideas of participants and experts to increase understanding of the issues and solve practical problems that arise.
Designing and implementing informed action projects requires sustained focus and attention. By way of example, tasks required for middle- and high school students are listed below, along with the skill sets that are promoted.

Student Tasks

  • Identify key issues
  • Set goals and deadlines
  • Challenge assumptions
  • Ask essential questions
  • Gather and evaluate data
  • Consult experts
  • Build partnerships
  • Form evidence-based opinions
  • Design action project
  • Assemble necessary resources
  • Implement action project
  • Share with broader audiences
  • Assess outcomes
  • Celebrate success

Student Skills Developed

  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Research methods
  • Distinguishing fact from opinion
  • Working with adults
  • Insights about diversity
  • Empathy for others
  • Group decision making
  • Leadership
  • Effective communications
  • Public speaking
  • Public policy
  • Overcoming impediments to change
  • Responsible global citizenship

Dolores Huerta, cofounder of the United Farm Workers and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, addressing students attending a workers rights rally in Albany, NY. Their informed action projects examined the challenges faced by migrant workers in upstate New York, and included visits to several locations where these transient families lived and worked.

Students greeting Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, NY, after he helped launch their class project to understand the local and global health crisis associated with substance abuse, and take positive actions to reduce the suffering it causes, especially among young persons.

At the annual Student Leadership Conference, which is held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, students participate in two days of discussions with peers from other schools on topics related to the Sustainable Development Goals. Overhead monitors from the 2015 Conference show a live video feed with students in the Phillipines, one of several counties whose students participated in the program, which is sponsored by the Global Education Motivators.